The Body Project comes to Red River College
Kit Muir: Contributor
Kelsey Todd had an eating disorder when she was 16, but now uses her past experiences to help people with body image issues.
“In my notebooks there would be tons of math equations, but they weren’t math equations it was me calculating my calories,” said Todd.
Todd is a student in the Educational Assistant program at Red River College. She is now 27 and facilitates body positivity sessions with The Body Project.
“It dawned on me, I’m a person with more to offer and I was using so much energy (trying to change my body). It was just exhausting,” said Todd.
The Body Project is a body-acceptance program created in 2012 by Dr.’s Eric Stice and Carolyn Becker. The program uses guided talks and action-based activities to help people think positively about their bodies.
“This is super important because so many people have bad body image or are fighting with their bodies,” said Todd.
Todd said she believes that you can’t learn if you aren’t nourishing your body.
“School is very high-stress, it’s very isolating. This is a situation that might trigger someone to have an eating disorder,” said Todd.
Breanna Sawatzky, the mental health coordinator at RRC, says the college will be hosting The Body Project sessions in the coming months. The location of the sessions will depend on the interest of the students from the two campuses. The sessions will be free for all Red River students. Each group of participating students will go to four 1-hour body positivity sessions. The sessions will be facilitated by a Red River student and staff member.
Sawatzky says she thinks this will benefit students’ self-esteem as well as their mental health.
“Negative feelings about one’s body or appearance really contribute to poor mental health, and if we can counteract that, people can… just thrive,” said Sawatzky.
Sawatzky said the program will encourage students to do small acts of body activism. These include putting sticky notes with encouraging messages on mirrors or challenging oneself to do something one wouldn’t normally be comfortable with like going a day without makeup.
“By taking the action it’s going to affect your attitude as well,” said Sawatzky.
Sawatzky said if students are interested and participate this year, she would like to see the program offered again in the future.
Dates for the free body positivity sessions have not been set. Dates and information will be posted on RRC’s mental health blog, Mind it!